Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Covering Davos this Year From the Warmth of My Home In Paris


This post will be updated as Davos continues.


Day 3 - January 19 - E-mail from a sociologist taking part in the conference at Davos:

prez of China and IMF claiming that the populist wave is bucking the tide of history, which is still globalization despite the hiccups (seems a bit of an ostrich response). Xi angling himself as the grown up on the block and China as the engine of a more equitable "balanced and harmonious globalization" (as long as it's basically as China sees it).

Schwab, the originator of the WEF, saying that we need 2 things: 1. sublimating self interest to the common good (apart from Ayn rand turning in her grave like a lathe in response, one might ask "and what, exactly is the common good that can really motivate people to sacrifice?" Certainly not de-spiritualized globalization); and 2. that automatization and robotization should not leave humans in the lurch. So, what about all those lumpen laborers? Give them a guaranteed income while they retrain or retire (Really? not realizing that people with full stomachs, yet finding no purpose or significance, are much more likely to attempt revolution or resort to revolution than the poor).

Day 1

Davos Man Confronts Trumpocalypse

Davos selfie from years past

With Trump an enigma to the movers and shakers of the world, one country has stepped into the breach to seize the attention of the planet's most famous elite conference: China.

PARIS—The village of Davos in the Swiss Alps has seen a lot, but it has never seen anything quite like the impact of Donald Trump. As the men and women who used to be called (or call themselves) “masters of the universe” assemble there at the World Economic Forum this week, the man who will be sworn in as President of the United States in Washington on Friday remains for most of them a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a Twitter account.  ... MORE


Day 2


Explaining Trump to the Unsettled Elite


At Davos this year China’s premier appeared the un-Trumpian paladin of free trade, while the U.S. president-elect's "translator seemed unsure just what his boss believes.


PARIS — What a relief! The World Economic Forum in Davos learned today that everything’s going to be okay. President-Elect Donald Trump didn’t really dump all over Europe and its unifying institutions over the weekend, or, well, he did but he didn’t mean it like it sounded: NATO is only kind of “obsolete,” Germany’s Angela Merkel opening the door to migrants was a “catastrophe,” but Trump really respects her a lot. So the high and mighty were told on the Davos stage by his soon-to-be assistant in the White House “office of liaison,” Anthony Scaramucci.
And in case you were worried about a China-United States trade war under the new administration—nah. No less an authority than Chinese Premier Xi Xinping declared himself to be an ardent free-trader, strongly opposed to protectionism, the new incarnation (although he didn’t quite say this) of Davos Man.
Of course, if you believe all that, there are plenty of people with a couple of Alps to sell you. .... MORE 

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Many thanks to Adrian Monck and the communications team at the World Economic Forum for making so many of the sessions available in their entirety on live-streaming and embedded video (See below for a scroll through the videos so far and a full list of upcoming talks.) 

From Day Two, going into Day Three:


Headlines

‘Defend the liberal international order.’ Joe Biden’s plea for the US.

Iran could play a larger role, says Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

2016 was the hottest year ever. How to avoid climate catastrophe.

Inequality is dangerous. The IMF chief sounds the alarm -- again.

Colombia’s President Santos is an exceptional global statesman.

Did Obama fail? Actor & UNESCO envoy Forest Whitaker says no.

On the Agenda

Why it’s an Asian century, and how the west can benefit from it.

Europe’s security threats are rising. It’s not responding fast enough.

From Dada to Davos. How art can speak truth to power.

Without a country but with dignity. An Olympian refugee’s story.

Climate change in a post-truth world. Time for business to lead.

Checking email less is just a start. Fighting distraction at work.


Coming up today

You don’t have to be in Davos to follow what’s going on. We’re livestreaming over 120 sessions. Here are some of today’s highlights.

Britain after Brexit. British Prime Minister Theresa May will spell out the economic implications of leaving the European Union. 0915 GMT

Google founder Sergei Brin, on leadership, entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 1315 GMT

Which Europe?  Can Europe overcome its divisions and forge a common path? 1000 GMT

Cooperation for Peace: A New Vision for the United Nations. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres talks to World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab. 1500 GMT

Redefining Europe's Security Agenda. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and a high-profile panel will discuss Europe's multiple security challenges. 1530 GMT


From Day One and going into Day Two, Monck recommends:

Most shared:
Chinese President Xi Jinping at Davos: in defence of globalization.
5 things you’ve got wrong about Donald Trump. According to one of his closest aides.
Should the US go cashless? Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz thinks so.

On the Agenda:
National leaders are failing us. Is more globalization the answer?
8 rich men = 3.6 billion poor. The right ways to change this equation.
Populism’s antidote. Plural cities rethink politics and economics.
Left behind by automation and globalization? Answers are here.
Art really can change the world. Artists who lead social change.
Money for nothing? How a universal basic income can pay for itself.
Human rights are in retreat. But our social fabric needs them more than ever.
[
Coming up today:

Special address by Joe Biden, Vice President of the US. 1030 CET.
Iran the region and the world. with Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iran. 1100 CET
Fixing Europe’s Disunion. The European project is facing challenges. How to fix them? 1545 CET.
The Great American Divide. After a divisive election, how can the United States be reunited? 1800 CET.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Recent Columns - From Richard Francis Burton in Boy Brothels to an American ambassador's parting shots




A Spy In the Brothels of Karachi 



—Apparently he wasn't a Santa at all ... and as far as I know he is still on the run, although the Turks are rounding up Uighurs
—On Jan 16 the Turks announced they had arrested (and apparently beat the shit out of) an Uzbek named Abdulkadir Masharipov.
Jan 6, 2017 2:15 PM EST

While cautious about fully embracing Donald Trump, France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen is... MORE

—And apparently Trump is wary of her, declining to receive her on her trip to New York last week. We reported she was on her way there after our sources texted us from the American Airlines plane she was on out of Paris. But it seems Trump's buddy Nigel Farage may have nixed a meeting.



Obama, Terror, and Trump: Parting Shots



—She was guarded in her remarks, and then she wasn't.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

ICYMI - Some Fascinating History for Holiday Reading

Angels of the Resistance

The Secret Agent Shrink vs. The Nazis


The Socialite Spy Who Played So Dumb She Outsmarted the Nazis

The Slave Who Stole the Reb Codes

The Black Spies in the Confederate White House [need to change article in hed and the woman in the picture is not in fact the woman we are writing about, whose photo does no exist)

The ‘Spider’ Who Nearly Wrecked the CIA

The Second Empire Strikes Back 

Les Tuileries: The Phantom Palace of Paris

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bringing History Into the Present at The Daily Beast


As I looked back over the stories I've written for The Daily Beast this year, I was struck by how many of them were historical. Most were published under the rubrics of our regular Cloak & Dagger and Lost Masterpieces features, which are long reads that run on the weekends. But most of them also have some relevance to current events, especially the resurgence of fascism and Nazism, whether we call the new movements white nationalism, the alt-right, or just Donald Trump on Twitter. 




Cloak and Dagger

Angels of the Resistance in Nazi Paris


Brave women helped downed Allied flyers escape the Germans.... MORE

ARTICLE


Salvador Death Squad

The Nun Murders and the Transition Team

Nov 27, 2016 10:25 AM EST
During the transition from Carter to Reagan, the Salvadoran death squads started targeting... MORE


ARTICLE

Napoleon III

The (Second) Empire Strikes Back

Nov 20, 2016 12:15 AM EST
NapolĂ©on III was a vain authoritarian who came to power in a wave of nationalist populism.... MORE


ARTICLE

Jung

The Secret Agent Shrink vs. The Nazis

Nov 12, 2016 12:15 AM EST
At the height of World War II, the U.S.... MORE

ARTICLE

Socialite as Spy story, which is really about how underestimated women were in her day, WWII, with the twist that that's what saved her life

Socialite Beat the Nazis By Playing Dumb

Sep 25, 2016 12:15 AM EDT
Big game hunter, legendary French Riviera partier, and a quintessential WASP—Gertrude Sanford was... MORE

ARTICLE

Robert Smalls

The Slave Who Stole the Reb Codes

Jul 23, 2016 12:13 AM EDT
When three Confederate officers decided to go ashore for a night in Charleston, they left their... MORE